Legal Positivism Analytical Essay by Nicky

Legal Positivism
Looks at the concept of legal positivism, the philosophy that argues that laws are simply the expression of the will of the authority that created them.
# 149537 | 1,550 words | 24 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 22, 2011 in Political Science (Political Theory) , Law (General) , Philosophy (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper explains that the philosophy of legal positivism purports that no laws can be regarded as expressions of a higher morality or principles and therefore is not an attempt to realize any loftier moral or social goals. Next, the author reviews the history of debate about August Comte's positivism, an approach to using reason and facts to uncover cultural truths. The paper concludes that laws are rules, not commands, that reflect society and are only useful under the paradigm of how that society understands and utilizes the validity of these regulations.

From the Paper:

"Prior to Comte, there were three major philosophers whose works helped organize and develop the idea of positivism. First, Thomas Hobbes, in writing about the state of human nature in Leviathan and other works, places humans in a naturalistic universe. For Hobbes, individual theory of law and legal precedence is based on an essential quality of a strong ruler, commands backed by threats, for example. Legal positivism must, then, not only define legal theory, but it must give universality to the method of jurisprudence. A clear statement that defines Hobbes as a legal positivist is found in the chapter, "Of Civil Lawes," in Leviathan. Hobbes tells us that 'Civil Law' is sometimes used to refer to the received Roman law: 'But that is not what I intend to speak of here; my designe being not to shew what is Law here, and there; but what is Law; as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and divers others have done, without taking upon them the profession of the study of the Law." This, of course, defines law in an active way and is echoed in the modern era by H.L.A. Hart in his belief that Hobbes' concept of law forms the basis of positivistic jurisprudence in England."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Auguste Comte." (2006). Sociology Guide. Cited in:
  • Austin, J. (2000). The Province of Jurisprudence Determined. Prometheus Books.
  • _____. (2004). Lectures on Jurisprudence, Or, the Philosophy of Positive Law.Lawbook Exchange.
  • Burawoy, M., (2005). The Politics and Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism And its Epistemological Others (Politics, History, Culture). Duke UniversityPress.
  • Campbell, T. (1996). The Legal Theory of Ethical Positivism. Dartmouth Publishing.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Legal Positivism (2011, December 22) Retrieved August 13, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Legal Positivism" 22 December 2011. Web. 13 August. 2022. <>